'Hobbit' Holds Off 'Wolf' on Christmas Day

by Ray Subers
The Wolf of Wall Street

December 26, 2013

Five new nationwide releases reached theaters on Christmas Day, though none were quite strong enough to take first place away from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

The Top 10 earned an estimated $67.3 million, which is about on par with Christmas Day 2012 ($68.1 million).

added $9.32 million, which is off 17 percent from the first Hobbit's Christmas Day ($11.2 million). Through 13 days in theaters, the second entry in the prequel trilogy has grossed just shy of $150 million.

Among new releases, The Wolf of Wall Street led the way with an estimated $9.15 million. That's a fine start, though it's much lower than last year's Django Unchained ($15 million). If Wolf follows Django's pattern from here, it will wind up with around $100 million; however, Wolf's "C" CinemaScore suggests that word-of-mouth could be a challenge.

After dropping to fourth place on Christmas Eve, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues rebounded a bit on Christmas Day. The comedy sequel took third place with an estimated $8.1 million, and has so far earned a decent $56.7 million.

Ben Stiller's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty brought in $7.8 million at 2,909 locations. That's a bit of an improvement over 20th Century Fox's Christmas Day release from last year (Parental Guidance, $6.3 million). Mitty received a "B+" CinemaScore, and should continue to play well through the end of the holiday season.

American Hustle
rounded out the Top Five with an estimated $7.4 million. Through less than a week in nationwide release, David O. Russell's acclaimed ensemble piece has grossed a very strong $34.1 million.

Universal's long-delayed, very expensive samurai flick 47 Ronin opened in sixth place with $7 million. That's a bit better than expected, though it's not necessarily indicative of long-term potential: Aliens Vs. Predator - Requiem had a strong Christmas Day start in 2007 ($9.5 million), but quickly collapsed and ended its run with just $41.8 million. Ronin's word-of-mouth won't be as poor, though, and it's possible that it eventually makes its way to $50 million.

added $6.3 million on Christmas Day. To date, the animated hit has earned $210.4 million.

Christmas Day also delivered two major box office bombs. The first was Robert DeNiro/Sylvester Stallone boxing comedy Grudge Match, which opened in ninth place with less than $4 million. That wasn't nearly as bad as Justin Bieber documentary Believe, which wound up in 14th place with a horrible $1.25 million. To be fair, it was only playing at 1,037 locations, though it still suggests that the "Beliebers" aren't nearly as interested as they were two years ago when Never Say Never opened to $12.4 million.

Finally, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom expanded to 975 locations and earned $1.26 million. The biopic should hold well through the next few weeks, though it's going to need Oscar nominations to really break out.

Discuss this story with fellow Box Office Mojo fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @boxofficemojo, and follow author Ray Subers at @raysubers.

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